Art comes to Reading Minster with Whitley Arts Festival
Martin Vennard • Published 17 Oct 2012 08:30 0 Comments
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PLAYING THE MINSTER: Berkshire sound artist Michael Fairfax, left, guides a student from Theale Green Community School in 'playing the church'
St Mary's Minster in Reading was brought to life in the most extraordinary of ways on Friday, October 12, at the inaugural event of this year's Whitley Arts Festival, one of the town's most unique events.
With the help of Theale Green Community School students, Berkshire sound artist Michael Fairfax "played" the minster. Under his direction, the pupils scraped and banged parts of the church that he had mic'd up.
The two members of the Siobhan Davies Dance company surprised many with their beautiful yet sometimes jerky moves, while singing words and making sounds that could either have been foreign words or completely invented, and throwing the pages of their music to the ground.
Looking a bit like one of the living statues that you see in so many places around the world today, Bob Aldous - with his spray-painted face and wearing a pale suit and mirrors - walked up and down the aisle reciting poems about youth, adulthood and old age.
It may come as a surprise that the French poet Arthur Rimbaud was once a resident of Reading and fragments of his opus Les Illuminations were displayed and developed by Sean Burn.
While some of the works on display may have gone over the heads of some of the more than 200 people who attended, that was certainly the intention with the suspended white paper globes by Julia Rogers. You could even put your head inside some of the lamp shade-like spheres for another distinctive perspective on the minister.
The festival runs until November 4, with art gallery walks, performances and even a film festival in a sex shop.
This article appeared in Bracknell News 17 Oct 12